A lovely old thing. The seat and intake snouts are in the van

Here’s why nothing came on when you turned the key: it’s the main feed to the loom

And here’s the repair, with the wires adapted to accommodate a cheaper and more widely available relay than the BMW original. Crimps are always better than soldered joints on old wires

Adrian’s BMW R60/7

“Make it work,” said Adrian. “By the way, it’s stood in a shed since 1991.”

My initial thought was that this 1977 R60 needed a new loom. Corrosion and horrible repairs were visible everywhere. But Adrian wanted a runner, not electrical perfection, so I tried repairing the bad bits.

This is actually great fun. Just start at the beginning: locate something hideous, and slowly and patiently sort it out. Then move onto the next bit. On this bike that meant rewiring the main feeds, the starter relay, both handlebar switches, the horn, and the points-assisted Boyer electronic ignition. On these old Boxers the headlight contains most of the electrical connections, so you have to keep things neat.

Once that was done, and a few crossed wires, duff earths and blown bulbs had been sorted out, it was looking quite presentable, and working nicely.

Carb issues meant I couldn’t test the charging system but the engine started willingly – for the first time in 29 years. A satisfying couple of days’ work – and for Adrian less than half the price of a new loom.

When you rewire old switchgear it helps to stop the wires crossing and recrossing each other. It stays more flexible that way. You snip off the ties as you push the sleeve on

It might look messy but this is as tidy as a Boxer headlight gets. Flasher unit (white plug and silver bracket, left) is on order

These old switchgear clusters are amazingly resilient. You can even rebuild them if you’re careful